“Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”
– The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
The last few minutes before bedtime are among the most precious moments of childhood. Contained between the busy hurtle of the day and the slow drift into sleep, the bedtime story is the last relic of a day lived, a final gasp that fuels the imagination for the strange colours and shapes of the night-time, and dreams that swell big in the darkness. As much as I loved bedtime stories in my youth, bouncing between The Berenstain Bears and the books of Robert Munsch, it wasn’t until my niece picked The Lorax from the shelf many years later that I finally read Dr. Seuss’s opus.
I must say that I wasn’t too pleased with the choice of The Lorax right off the bat. As much as I love reading to my niece, the book was noticeably thick between my fingers and I couldn’t quite fathom all the fake, pitchy voices I would have to concoct in order to get through its 45 pages. Unfortunately, as I started to read, showing off the illustrations and flipping the pages, I quickly became very uncomfortable with the premise – more uncomfortable than any children’s book I can recall reading. In that oddly unsettling moment, it was disheartening to realize I had, in some way, become the beast I was warned about as a child; the simple, youthful coordinates of black and white had been watered down, and drastically changed.